think pink

It was recently pointed out to me that October is Breast Awareness month. Our society is far too oblivious to the existence of breasts. Every day, millions of women around the world have breasts. In spite of this, breasts go largely unnoticed by men, women, and advertisers alike.

Wait, maybe it’s Breast Cancer Awareness month. That probably makes more sense.

Pink has become the color associated with breast cancer awareness, originating in the use of the pink ribbon symbol in the early 90s. So this month seems a good time to bring out the pink things. In the spirit of my Themed Things lists of green, red and blue folks and critters, I give you a list of pink animals, characters and other creatures.
The Breast Cancer Site
Before the pink fur starts flying, let me direct your attention to the button to the right. If you click on that, you’ll be directed to a site that funds free mammograms to women in need. All you need to do is click a button. So…you know…click on it.

Ok, once more into the pink.

    Some Pink Creatures

  • The Pink Panther. A cartoon character originally appearing in the credit sequences of the (live action) Peter Sellers movie The Pink Panther (1963), but who later got his own TV show.
  • Barbapapa. A shape-shifting pink blob character who appeared in kids’ books and short animated shows. I have vague but fond memories of the cartoons from when I was little. I also had at least one of the books.
  • Serendipity. A bright pink, aquatic, dragonlike creature from the book (of the same name) by Stephen Cosgrove. (One of the first books that I ever read.)
  • several Care Bears are pink, such as the one called Cheer.
  • There are likewise various My Little Pony characters who are pink. (One called Pinkie Pie, for example.)
  • pink elephants Said to be seen by those who have had too much to drink. The expression seeing pink elephants is believed to have originated in a book by Jack London. Pink Elephants were featured in a scene in Dumbo (1941), along withe song “Pink Elephants on Parade.”
  • some Muppets are pink, such as one of the Martians, or “Yip-Yips.” (You can see the Yip-Yips discover a radio on this YouTube clip.)
  • Pearl: A pink octopus from Finding Nemo (2003)
  • the Energizer bunny. A mechanical drumming bunny toy with pink fur used in Energizer battery commercials.
  • flamingo. A bird with pink feathers, at least as an adult:

    Young flamingos hatch with grey plumage, but adults range from light pink to bright red due to aqueous bacteria and beta carotene obtained from their food supply.

  • Plastic pink flamingos are a popular lawn ornament in the US starting in the 1950s. They are often considered the epitome of kitsch.
  • Amazon River Dolphins. There is a species of freshwater dolphin living in the Amazon. For real. I actually saw some when I was travelling in the Amazon in 1991. (Or I may have possibly seen tucuxi, which are apparently saltwater dolphins, but live in the Amazon and can be pink.)
  • pigs. While the actual pigs I’ve seen haven’t been, pigs are often shown as pink in cartoons, toys, etc. The Disney version of Piglet, for example is bright pink. Cincinnati’s flying pig mascot is pink, as is the Kids in the Hall Flying Pig.

image sources: Barbapapa, Serendipity, Care Bear, flamingo and elephant, Pink Panther.

a butterfly collection

A while back, I gave you a list of moths for a Themed Things Thursday list, and I said I’d get around to the other major set of lepidoptera shortly. So here is a collection of butterfly things, which I have carefully skewered with pins and lined up for your enjoyment.

    A Butterfly Collection

  1. butterfly collecting: a hobby that involves collecting specimens of butterflies, and typically pinning them to a board and displaying them under glass in rows. It was a particularly popular hobby during Victorian and Edwardian times.
  2. The Collector (1965) A movie about a butterfly collector who kidnaps a woman to add to his collection of creatures.
  3. butterfly net: a type of handheld net used for catching butterflies (often for a collection). The image of using oversized butterfly nets to catch people is sometimes used in cartoons (or the imagery is evoked in humor writing). Particularly when depicting the “men in white coats” in pursuit of an escapee from a mental institution. (cf: this, this, or this cartoon.)
  4. “The Butterfly”, a fairy tale by Hans Christian Anderson. A tale of a butterfly seeking a flower to be his bride. Unsuccessfully. In the end, he gets caught by people and pinned down, a state he likens to marriage.
  5. The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle. A picture book about a caterpillar who is hungry and eats a lot before becoming “a beautiful butterfly.” (Sorry, did I give away the ending?)
  6. Heimlich : a caterpillar (who is generally very hungry) from Pixar’s animated feature, A Bug’s Life. At the end of the movie, he emerges from his cocoon as a butterfly with wings disproportionatley small for his body, saying: “Finally, I’m a beautiful butterfly”?) (You can watch the scene on YouTube.)
  7. butterfly kiss: a nickname for the act of brushing one’s eyelashes against another person’s skin as an act of affection.
  8. In the Time of the Butterflies. A novel by Julia Alvarez about 4 sisters who participated in a resistance against a brutal dictator in the Dominican Republic. Their codename was “las Mariposas,” or “the Butterflies.” Also a 2001 TV movie based on the novel.
  9. butterflies in the stomach: an expression referring to temporary minor gastrointestinal distress triggered by stress, such as that due to an anticipated meeting or public performance. (Doesn’t that sound poetic?)
  10. The Monarch. A bumbling arch-villain from “The Venture Bros.”, a cartoon shown on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim. Wears a butterfly costume, as do his henchman.
  11. Madame Butterfly: an opera written by Giacomo Puccini about a Geisha in Nagasaki called “Butterfly.”
  12. “Butterfly”, a song by Weezer about catching a butterfly in a mason jar. It also makes reference to the opera Madame Butterfly, and is on the album Pinkerton, which is the name of the male protagonist from the opera.
  13. the butterfly effect:
    An idea from Chaos theory whereby minor events can trigger a chain reaction of other events, which can sometimes lead to big events. Such as the fluttering of a butterfly’s wings leading to a tornado changing its path. (Also a 2004 movie.)
  14. butterfly ballot: a voting ballot notorious from the 2000 US presidential election, as its confusing layout may have led some would-be Gore voters in Florida to mistakenly vote for Pat Buchanan.
  15. The Sinister Butterfly: “Nefariously fluttering from leaf to leaf.” John’s blog. Which he doesn’t update very often these days. But he has posted some great photos there before, as well as some other stuff that’s worth reading.


Butterfly collection image source: Worcester City Museums, UK. The Monarch image was found here


Bear with me. Or, bears with me. Well, not really with me. But on the list. Yes, Themed Things Thursday¹ is coming out of hibernation, as I come crawling out of my work-induced cave of fatigue and grumpitude. And what better way to come out of a cave than being pursued by a whole lot of bears?

Some Bears ²

  • Winnie-the-Pooh: Pooh has to top any list of bears in my book. The bear from the books by A. A. Milne. (I prefer not to think about the Disneyfied version.)
  • Grizzly Adams: A TVshow about a man and bear.
  • Gentle Ben: A lesser-known show about a boy and a bear.
  • Grizzly Man A movie about a man who decided to go and live with bears. Eventually, the bears tired of him. From what I understand, he met a…um…grizzly…end.
  • Yogi Bear: A cartoon about a bear, smarter than the average bear, so he says. Stole pic-a-nic baskets. Yogi Bear was always allegedly “in the ranger’s hair.” But I don’t believe he ever actually ate the ranger. (I watched this show as a kid, but I’m not sure I liked it. I feel like I felt some empathy for Boo-boo Bear, the side-kick.)
  • snowwhiterosered.png

  • Goldilocks and the 3 bears:
    The classic fairy tale of breaking and entering. While a family of bears is out for a walk while their porridge cools, a little girl heads into their house where she steals their food and breaks some furniture.
  • Bears are also prominent in several other fairy tales, like Snow White and Rose Red.
  • Bear Snores On: A kids’ book (by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman) about a bear who snoozes through a party in his cave, when various other animals sneak in to get out of the winter storm.
  • There are a whole bunch of other bear books for kids, several of which are berry-oriented, like Blueberries for Sal, Jamberry, The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry and the Big Hungry Bear.
  • bear hug: A hug characterized by a real squeezing of the arms, rather than just a symbolic arm-wrapping. As one might imagine it would be like if hugged by a bear. Though without the mauling.
  • B is for Basil, assaulted by bears:” A page from The Gashleycrumb Tinies, Edward Gorey’s alphabetic masterpiece.
  • Fozzie Bear: a muppet who likes to tell bad jokes. (Wocka, wocka, wocka.)
  • fuzzy wuzzy, a children’s rhyme:

    Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear
    Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair
    Fuzzy Wuzzy wasn’t very Fuzzy, was he.

  • Bears Discover Fire:” A Hugo Award-winning short story by Terry Bisson in which bears…discover fire.
  • Bears are fairly popular mascots for sporting teams, especially brown bears, or Bruins (cf. the Brown University Bruins, UCLA Bruins, the Boston Bruins, or the Chicago Bears. And cf. also “da Bears” sketch from SNL)
  • teddy bear: A popular type of stuffed animal, named for Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt
  • Gummy Bears: fruit-flavored, brightly-colored, gelatin-based candies shaped like little bears.
  • brown_bear_3.png

    ¹ Yes, I realize it is now no longer Thursday. But I ran out of time, and I’ve had this draft going for over a week.

    ² This list is about bears, not bears

    along came some spiders

    spiderweb1.pngHalloween’s around the corner. One thing this means is that people break out the creepy crawly decorations to get festively creepy. It’s harder to get much creepier or crawlier than spiders. So I offer you a whole mess of festively creepy crawly eight-legged critters for this week’s Themed Things Thursday. Enjoy. (Or shield your eyes, depending on your feelings towards spiders.)

    A Few Spiders

    1. Charlotte’s Web, by E. B. White. A novel featuring a very smart spider who could weave a remarkable web. One of my favorite books of childhood.
    2. Little Miss Muffet
      A nursery rhyme about a little girl who was frightened off her tuffet by a spider.
    3. black_widow.png       black_widow.png       black_widow.png                 black_widow.png

    4. “The Spider and the Fly”, a poem by Mary Howitt. A poem best known for a first line that doesn’t actually appear in the poem: “Step into my parlour, said the spider to the fly”. Here’s how the text actually begins. (You can read the full text here.)

      Will you walk into my parlour?” said the Spider to the Fly,
      ‘Tis the prettiest little parlour that ever you did spy;
      The way into my parlour is up a winding stair,
      And I’ve a many curious things to shew when you are there.”
      Oh no, no,” said the little Fly, “to ask me is in vain,
      For who goes up your winding stair can ne’er come down again.”

    5. Seven Spiders Spinning, a kid’s novel by Gregory Maguire, an author best known for writing Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West.
    6. Anansi: A spider who is a trickster character in many West African folktales.
    7. peter_sm4_8001.jpg

    8. Spider-Man. (Or Spiderman.) The superhero of comics, cartoons, and the more recent live action movies. A man was bitten by a spider and got spider-themed superpowers. Such as a spider sense. Which tingled. (When I’ve been bitten by a spider I’ve gotten a red welt. I guess you could say it tingled. But I wouldn’t.)
    9. Spider-Man,” the song. The theme song from a cartoon version of Spider-Man. Since performed by a variety of artists, including Moxy Fruvous and the Ramones.

      Spiderman, Spiderman,
      Does whatever a spider can
      Spins a web, any size,
      Catches thieves just like flies
      Look Out!
      Here comes the Spiderman.

    10. “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” A children’s folk song. About a small spider, itsy bitsy even, who went up a spout. Then down, then back up.
    11. Spiders,” a song by Joydrop

      When love was fresh like a web we’d mesh
      Nothing felt better than your flesh against my flesh
      One fatal slip one rip a tear
      Touch me now and every single hair on my body stands on end
      So don’t touch me anymore
      ‘Cause it feels like spiders
      Like spiders all over me
      Like spiders
      Like spiders all over me

    12. It: a book by Steven King and miniseries based on the same. Involves a big evil spider. (And a clown.)
    13. spider_1.png

    14. Shelob: A giant, nasty spider from the Lord of the Rings
    15. Aragog: A giant, nasty spider from the Harry Potter books and movies
    16. Kingdom of the Spiders (1977)
      A TV movie with William Shatner, about evil, venemous spiders that infest a town.
    17. Arachnophobia (1990)
      A movie about evil, venemous spiders that infest a town.
    18. A few other random spiders include: spider(a type of pan, basically a frying pan with legs), web spider, Alfa Romeo Spider, Spider (2002), and spider veins.

    turning into a pumpkin

    pumpkinshoes.jpgI mentioned briefly that I’m going to be a bridesmaid in a wedding coming up soon. Well, that “soon” has now become “this Sunday.” Which is, technically, very soon. As is the standing tradition, in U.S. weddings at least, I will be wearing a dress chosen by the bride. As it will be an October wedding in New England, the bride has chosen fall colors. My dress is in burnt orange, a very pretty color, though a somewhat unusual one in my wardrobe. And is also often the case for such occasions, I am to have shoes that match my dress. This means that I have needed to get some dyed. I picked up my shoes yesterday afternoon. And I have to admit that I was quite startled to see them. You see, they are orange. I now have shiny orange shoes. I don’t think you can ever be fully prepared to see orange shoes.

    Anyhow, this weekend I will be donning the orange, and perhaps as such, feeling a bit like a pumpkin. Hopefully an elegant pumpkin, mind you, but a pumpkin nonetheless. But seeing as it’s October, pumpkins are all the orange rage right now. And in honor of their orange pumpkiness, I bring you a pumpkin-based Themed Things Thursday.

  • pumpkin
    A vegetable. Or a fruit. Depending on your choice of taxonomy. Generally eaten cooked. Used in lots of baked goods, like pumpkin pie.
  • Pumpkin (2002)
    A movie starring Christina Ricci.
  • Pumpkin
    A song by Tricky off Maxinquaye (YouTube video)
  • pumpkin_carriage.jpg

  • Cinderella’s carriage
    In many versions of this fairy tale, Cinderella’s fairy godmother turns a pumpkin into a carriage to carry Cinderella to the ball. Cinderella must leave the ball before her ride turns back into a pumpkin. Leading to the expression turn into a pumpkin, meaning depart, go to bed or otherwise turn in for the night.
  •             the_headless_horseman_pursuing_ichabod_crane.jpg

  • The Headless Horseman
    A ghostly character from Washington Irving’s story “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow“, who carries around a pumpkin head.
  • 200px-jackpumpkinheadpng.png

  • Jack Pumpkinhead
    A character from the Oz books by L. Frank Baum. Later had his own book, Jack Pumpkinhead of Oz, though it wasn’t by Baum.
  • Pumpkinhead (1989)
    A horror movie involving a demon dug up from a pumpkin patch.
  • The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead
    a song by XTC. (YouTube video) Later covered by Crash Test Dummies.
  • Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater
    A nursery rhyme. Also a song you can play on the piano using only the black keys.¹

    Peter Peter pumpkin eater
    Had a wife and couldn’t keep her
    He put her in a pumpkin shell
    And there he kept her very well

  • peter_peter_pumpkin_eater_1_-_ww_denslow_-_project_gutenberg_etext_18546.jpg       great_pumpkin.jpg      nightmare_before_christmas_poster.jpg

  • The Great Pumpkin
    A mythical holiday character that never appears in the animated Peanuts special It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966)
  • Jack, the Pumpkin King
    A character from Tim Burton’s animated movie The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993).
  • pumpkin_porch.jpg

  • jack-o-lanterns
    It’s a Halloween tradition to carve a face into a pumpkin. These are then typically set outside, with a candle inside. It’s also a Halloween tradition for mischievous kids to steal other people’s pumpkins, and smash them.
  • Smashing Pumpkins.
    A band. Performs songs such as “Tonight, tonight” and “Tarantula” (YouTube videos)
  • punkin
    An endearment or nickname based on the word pumpkin, which is sometimes pronounced without the word-medial [p]. Gives us [pʰʌŋkɪn] (Where the nasal has then assimilated to the place of articulation of the following consonant, a velar. Not that you asked.)
  • phoebe_cat_pumpkin.jpg

    ¹ I admit that I’m recycling this particular item from my vegetable ThThTh list. But recycling is good, right? Or should I be composting, since it’s vegetables we’re talking about?

    for the birds

    Chirp, cheep, tweet. This week’s theme for things is birds. The feathers are flying. Suspect fowl play.

  • 10,000 Birds:
    A blog of many birds, though I haven’t counted them. This month’s Carnival of Color, where my green guys have gone to hang out, is graciously being hosted by 10,000 Birds.
  • The Birds (1963)
    Alfred Hitchcock’s thriller of birds on the attack.
  • Eat like a bird:
    An expression that means “eat small amounts.” Of course, actual birds can be seen to eat constantly, and consume large proportions of their body weight each day.
  • Birds of a feather stick together:
    A saying meaning that like-minded people tend to associate with each other. Happily, there’s no actual sticking together, with feathers. Because that would be messy.
  • My little chickadee:
    This is a nickname that my mother had for my sister and me, her little chickadees. Also the title of a 1940 movie. Apparently was a catch phrase of W. C. Field’s.
  • Phoebe:
    Okay, my favorite Phoebe is not actually a bird, but a small person. With no feathers. But phoebes, such as the Eastern Phoebe, are birds. With feathers and everything.
  • The Raven, by Edgar Allen Poe
    The famous poem. (Features the name Lenore, too, which is a family name. Most recently in use as a middle name by my own little Phoebe bird.)

    Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe, and forget this lost Lenore!’
    Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.’

  • Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law. The Adult Swim cartoon. (Not actually a bird, but a guy who dresses in a bird-like costume. Complete with wings.)

    Once a third-rate superhero, Harvey Birdman is now a third-rate lawyer trying like hell to get by in a fancy law firm. It’s not clear whether Harvey actually went to law school, but he definitely knows the things to say to sound like a lawyer. And he has a suit now, that’s for sure.

  • Woodsy Owl
    A mascot for the United States Forest Service. “Give a hoot. Don’t pollute.”
  • woodstock.gif

  • The Golden Goose:
    A fairy tale about a goose with feathers of gold.
  • We have several yellow birds that bear little resemblance to actual yellow birds:

  • Big Bird, of Sesame Street. Large, yellow, feathered.
  • Woodstock, of Charles Schulz’s Peanuts. Small feathered friend of Snoopy.
  • Tweety Bird, the Looney Tunes bird.
    He tought he taw a putty tat.
  • There are also heaps o’ ducks, chickens and penguins. I could easily make a list about each of those. Maybe I will at some point. But for now, lets say…Daffy, The Little Red Hen and Opus.
  • This bird list could go on and on, but I’ll stop there for now.